Marinkov, Madalynn F., Kent State University. Moon, Da Hye, Kent State University. Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing in the Fashion Industry: A Case Study. Major Professor: Jewon Lyu.
Multiple responsible sourcing methods such as the use of organic cotton or sustainable fibers have been adopted by major retail companies such as Walmart, Target, and Gap Inc. These sourcing methods focus particularly on cotton, the way it is produced, and the traceability in all stages of the retail supply chain. Sustainability in the fashion industry is inevitable due to common knowledge of how harmful all elements of the industry are to the environment and people. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of these responsible sourcing methods in terms of purchasing behavior and the effect that green initiatives have on mass-market consumers in the industry today. A case study with an in-depth interview method will be used to assess consumers who often shop at major retail companies such as Target, Walmart, and Kohl's, roughly a few times a month. This interview will educate consumers on sustainable sourcing methods and the steps they themselves can take to help the industry go green. The results of this study are expected to be positive in terms of consumer awareness and desire to choose companies to support that align with sustainable beliefs. This study aims to urge consumers to consider purchasing products from companies that source materials sustainably and are worth the cost. The expected results should be upstanding as far as other studies have shown that consumers are willing to spend more to receive quality clothing that is created in the most harmless way possible.